Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Review

The end of the month has sneaked up on me this time! I knew today would be Halloween, but it didn't click that it was the last day of the month...It's been a busy!

I have read so many wonderful books again this month! It has been a wide range from Biblical fiction to contemporary suspense to historical fiction and all the way to Amish. Let's have a look back on the month!

Review:



 Christmas in Apple Ridge: Three-in-One Collection by Cindy Woodsmall (Blogging for Books)
Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green (Moody/River North Publishing)
Wedded to War Jocelyn Green (Moody/River North Publishing)
David and Bathsheba by Roberta Kells Dorr (Moody/River North Publishing)
A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano (Bethany House)
Peace on Earth by Mary Englebreit (Booksneeze)
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 11/14-12/3

Bought:

Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes
 Stranded by Dani Pettrey
Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagers

It has just been a great month for reading again! All in all, I've read 14 books which has brought my total for the year to 93! I have not read this many in a year before. It's been doable with all of the wonderful reads that are out there!

 So, how has your October been? What books did you absolutely love?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013



November is almost here! How crazy is that? They year has been flying by and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before you know it! I've already started Christmas shopping, hoping to beat the rush.

But, that is not why I'm writing this post, nope. The month of November is also National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short! I've heard about this even for a few years and decided last year to give it a try! I'm glad I did!

NaNoWriMo is once a year challenge...well, I don't want to say once a year. Writing is encouraged all year. November is a month focused on writing a novel (50,000 words) in 30 days. Last year I made it to 31,000+. I was really proud of myself. However, over the last year, I started looking at my work and I was happy. So this year, I'm focusing on a re-write. I'm excited to see where this story goes!

If you're interested, come and check out this link: http://nanowrimo.org


Waiting on Wednesday: Carolina Gold

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week you are able to spotlight the up and coming releases you are looking forward to!

Waiting On:
Title: Carolina Gold
Author: Dorothy Love
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: December 10th, 2013

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
The war is over, but her struggle is just beginning.

Charlotte Fraser returns to her late father’s once-flourishing rice plantation on the Waccamaw River, determined to continue growing the special kind of rice known as Carolina Gold. But Fairhaven Plantation is in ruins, the bondsmen are free, and money is scarce.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly accepts a position as tutor to the young daughters of Nicholas Betancourt, heir to the neighboring Willowood Plantation. Then Nick’s quest to prove his ownership of Willowood sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that reveals an old family mystery—and threatens all that she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th century woman rice planter, CAROLINA GOLD continues Dorothy Love’s winning tradition of weaving together mystery, romance, and rich historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.

Why I'm Waiting:
I love historical fiction, especially that set during or right after the Civil War. That time just hooks me and the synopsis has be interested to see how this story will turn out!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week features a book/blog related topic and you can spotlight your Top Ten!

Topic:
This week was all about the creepy --whether or not you chose Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween or Top Ten Creepiest Covers!


I don't read a lot of creepy book, so this will probably be a short list. I'm going to go with Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween.

1.) Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
It has witches, wizards, werewolf's, and a few sociopaths!

2.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
There are mutant creatures and a twisted government (November is election month, so why not a corrupt governmental read to scare you right before going to the polls.)

 3.) All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
Vampires, Warewolfs, and a story line similar to Twilight, just for adults (that should be scary enough!)

4.) The Book of Mortal's Series by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
A world that only knows fear. That is just scary.



It's a short list this week. I don't read horror books. What would be on your list?

Review: Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green


Title: Widow of Gettysburg
Author: Jocelyn Green
Publisher: River North
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0577-7
Publication Date: April 12th, 2013

Synopsis:
For all who have suffered great loss of heart, home, health or family; true home and genuine lasting love can be found.

When a horrific battle rips through Gettysburg, the farm of Union widow Liberty Holloway is disfigured into a Confederate field hospital, bringing her face to face with unspeakable suffering-and a Confederate scout who awakens her long dormant heart.
But when the scout doesn't die she discovers he isn't who he claims to be .

While Liberty's future crumbles as her home is destroyed, the past comes rushing back to Bella, a former slave and Liberty's hired help, when she finds herself surrounded by Southern soldiers, one of whom knows the secret that would place Liberty in danger if revealed.

In the wake of shattered homes and bodies, Liberty and Bella struggle to pick up the pieces the battle has left behind. Will Liberty be defined by the tragedy in her life, or will she find a way to triumph over it?
Inspired by first-person accounts from women who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and its aftermath, Widow of Gettysburg is the Book 2 in the Heroines Behind the Lines series. These books do not need to be read in succession.  For more information & resources about the Heroines Behind the Lines series, visit www.heroinesbehindthelines.com.
Review:
Widow of Gettysburg introduced me to something I haven't ever thought about, the people who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and what happened to them afterwards. Everything I know about Gettysburg is of the battle and the event that led up to it. Bear with me, it's about to turn into a history lesson recap.

The South had just lost one of it's best generals, Stonewall Jackson. Stepping into Jackson's place as second in command is General Longstreet. The South has been winning every major battle to this point. Lee by this time is firmly established as the military leader of the South. The North has been going through generals like water through a strainer. Lee believed this next battle could seal the fate of the war, most people did in fact and it was true. However, instead of staying on the defensive, Lee pushed into the offensive roll which put him and his army in unfamiliar territory. The battle started with a skirmish between two small units and it just erupted. Lee didn't want it here, but the fight had started. We know of the battle of Little Round Top and Big Round Top. The victory of Colonel Chamberlain. We know that Pickett lost every last man in his battalion. Lee then retreated back south with his decimated army. And Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. Wiping out a good portion of the population at the time.

From there, the armies left...or so I thought. That wasn't the case. The Widow of Gettysburg follows Liberty Holloway, a young widow. She married at seventeen and shortly thereafter, her husband was killed in the first battle of Bull Run. Two years have passed since his death and Liberty is trying to move on with her life, but the war has come to her and her neighbors in Gettysburg. The bridges have been burned out, telegraph wires have been cut. No news has come in or gone out. Rumors have been spreading that the Yankees and the Rebels would be fighting soon and close by. The rumors prove true, for on July 1st, the war begins and Liberty's life as she knows it is thrown into the wind. Her house is taken out from under her by the Confederacy as a field hospital. Not knowing what else to do, Liberty helps take care of the army that killed her husband.

Even though the battle only lasted for three days, the wounded remained much longer. As each army leaves quickly,  the wounded remain with their field surgeons. The people of the town are now either forced into service as nurses or they are to remain hidden, out of the way, so that the wounded can be treated in their homes.

The town of Gettysburg is ripped to shreds. The scent of death hangs heavy in the air, along with that of waste, and rot. Liberty faces many challenges from the battle, to the wounded, even of that of the heart, both romantically and spiritually. If it wasn't for the battle of Gettysburg, a reporter in search of a story, never would have come to town in search of a story, which would then end of changing Liberty's idea of who her family was and is. Liberty faces so much personal change in this story, it fascinating to watch her learn and grow.

Jocelyn Green has a wonderful way of telling a story that can transport you back in time. Heroines Behind the Line series is a wonderful experience and just brings these women to life. It is amazing the detail that has been found of the women who have lived through this dark time and are brought back and in to the knowledge of today through this book.

Can't miss!
Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.

Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Evangelical Press Association, Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America.

She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.



Thank you to Moody/River North Publishers, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

Title: Wedded to War
Author: Jocelyn Green
Publisher: River North
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0576-0
Publication Date: June 20th, 2012

Synopsis:
When war erupted, she traded a life of privilege for a life of significance.

Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combatting more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series "Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War," a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.

Wedded to War is a Christy Award nominated title for best new author.
Review:
I just have to start of by saying, I love reading about the Civil War. There is so much history there. It is one of my favorite times to study about. I devoured my history books in college when we studied it in class. I love the movies Gods and Generals (based on the book by Jeff Shaara) and Gettysburg (based on the book The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara). I'm always looking for more information during that time. I will say, where I live at, I tend to study more of the Southern side of the war. So, it was interesting to read about these characters in Wedded to War, based on actual accounts from the women of the north.

Wedded to War follows Charlotte Waverly. Charlotte is twenty-eight years old, a spinster by society standards. She lost her father when she was sixteen to a brutal illness that was sweeping through the city. She was the only one in her family that stayed to tend him and she was the only one of her family to be there when he died. Even though she has avoided blood and illness since then, Charlotte feels led to serve as a nurse to the Union army. However she is faced with road blocks at almost every point along the way. Charlotte's mother is adamant  that she shouldn't go, Charlotte's place is in the home, looking for a husband. The director of the nursing program finds Charlotte too pretty, too young, and too unmarried to be considered a nurse under her guidelines. The male surgeons find Charlotte just in the way. Women shouldn't be in this field of work. They are far to emotional.

However, throughout the story, Charlotte perseveres. She is determined to do the job she trained for. She feels the need to help and help she will. Charlotte has to be one of the strongest female leads I have read about. It's amazing how her story is based on actual accounts from Georgeanna Woolsy. It was such a hard time for everyone in one way or another.

The story brought to it a grittiness that surrounds battles. Not the battle themselves, but the afterwards. Surgeons had to figure out who was worth saving and who wasn't. There is death, blood, and bodily fluids. Jocelyn Green was able to bring this time in history alive again with her words. The historical detail to the war and the response to it was wonderful and I was able to learn something new about a time I enjoy to study.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.

Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Evangelical Press Association, Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America.

She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.


Thank you to Moody/River North Publishers, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Stacking the Shelves (17)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week you can highlight the books you have received this past week for either review, you have purchased, borrowed, or won. They can be bound or e-books.

Review:
David and Bathsheba by Roberta Kells Dorr (Moody/River North)
Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green (Moody/River North)
Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green (Moody/River North)
Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson/Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 11/14-12/3
The Wayfinding Bible (Tyndale House Publishers)

Bought:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth


What new books did you get this week? Anything you were waiting on?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wedneday: For Such a Time

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. This feature is a way to help spotlight the up and coming books you can't wait to read!

Waiting On:
Title: For Such a Time
Author: Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: April 1st, 2013

Synopsis:
In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz. Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy. Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?
Why I'm Waiting:
I find myself being drawn more and more to WW2 based books. There is so much history there. It sounds a little bit like Schindler's List, in the aspect that there is a sympathizer on the inside trying to help. It sounds very interesting.


What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: David and Bathsheba by Roberta Kells Dorr

Title: David and Bathsheba
Author: Roberta Kells Dorr
Publisher: River North
Pages: 308
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0956-0
Publication Date: May 15th, 2013 (First published 1980)

Synopsis:
David and Bathsheba is a spellbinding story of a gifted king and the woman he loved but could not have.  Told from Bathsheba's perspective, author Roberta Kells Dorr brings to life the passion that almost cost David his kingdom and tested a people's courage and faith in God.

David and Bathsheba is colored richly with details of Bible-era Israel-from the details of the everyday way of life to details of the Jewish religion.  Dorr brilliantly merges reality with folklore as she tells the story of two great characters of the biblical era. The book starts out with Bathsheba as a young girl and David as a strong willed rebellious military leader.  It details the way they met and follows them all the way through their difficulties. 

The spellbinding story of a gifted king and the woman he loved but could not have, this book is the first novel in Dorr's acclaimed trilogy of the House of David. Told from Bathsheba's perspective, Dorr brings to life the passion that almost cost David his kingdom--and tested a people's courage and faith in God.
Review:
This is the first book I have read by Roberta Kells Dorr and I look forward to reading more! The attention to detail that is shown throughout the whole story just brings this book to life. The research that went into this book shows through on every page. In the forward it spoke of Roberta traveling to the Gaza Strip and being able to visit the archeological sites. In the way that the story is presented, you can tell that Roberta has knowledge of the area.

I really enjoyed the presentation of the story. Even though it is presented through Bathsheba, the book itself is divided up into four sections. Each section represents an important man in her life at the time. The first section is centered around Bathsheba's grandfather, Ahithophel, who was a Chief Elder in his village and a prosperous man. It is in this section, we watch as Bathsheba grows up and the hardships her family faced during the Philistine invasion and the fall of Saul in battle. At this time, David is an outlaw on the run and hiding in caves, but is followers are growing. In the second section, it focuses on Uriah or Uri, Bathsheba's husband. In this section is follows the trials Bathsheba faces after she weds a man she doesn't know. With this marriage, Bathsheba is required to move to Jerusalem. Bathsheba has a large weight placed on her shoulders once she is married. She is needed to bare a son for Uri.

The third part of the story is focused on David and the trials from this marriage with Michal and then of his meeting Bathsheba. It follows Bathsheba as she tries for years to produce a child, but there is none. The badgering of her mother-in-law and the threats of divorce that she hurls at her. Uriah goes to war and it is here that David and Bathsheba's relationship starts and spirals. It Leads to consequences that they both must face and deal with, not just from their laws and the people, but also from God, delivered in word from Nathan the prophet. The fourth and final section is on Solomon. During this section, Bathsheba faces the scorn of the people as a seductress who led their king astray. She battles the other wives of David in the harem, all while trying to raise her son. As part of the royal family, Bathsheba must do what she can to protect Solomon, as it was prophesied that he would rule Israel.

The character development in this story was wonderful! There were characters you could just loathe. Their bitterness and controlling demeanor just got to you. There were times you just had heart ache for Bathsheba during her struggles.

The story just drew me in!
Too Read!
5 out of 5



About the Author:
Roberta Kells Dorr is the author of seven books: six novels, one biography. She majored in creative writing at the University of Maryland and received her master’s in Religious Education from the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For seventeen years Dorr lived in the Middle East as the wife of a busy missionary surgeon and the mother of five children. On her return to the United States she carried with her the manuscript of the first novel she had written and researched extensively over the years. She claimed that the years in the Middle East, the exposure to their culture, and the experiences she had while there profoundly influenced what she wrote.

Roberta passed away in 2010, but her family is republishing her beloved books for a new generation.


Thank you to Moody Publishers/ River North, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Born of Persuasion

Title: Born of Persuasion
Author: Jessica Dotta
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 435
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7555-7
Publication Date: September 1st, 2013

Synopsis:
She never imagined securing her future would require delving into the past.
 
The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice — to marry her childhood sweetheart — is denied. Then, a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, opening a realm of possibilities.

Treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, however, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. 

But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.
Review:
Oh, my goodness. What a page turner Born of Persuasion turned out to be! I have been hearing wonderful things about Jessica Dotta's debut novel and they are correct!

I'm going to start off by saying, that I have read several Jane Austen books and found them to drag, however, I love the film adaptations of her books. Born of Persuasion captured my attention like a Jane Austen movie. Then you throw in a bit of Charlotte Bronte with the mystery, suspense, and a touch of darkness that the Gothic authors are so well known for and you have Jessica Dotta's new book.

Julia was an interesting character. She is also the first atheist lead character I have read about in a Christian book. Her perspective was interesting and reading it from the first person made it easier to understand Julia. As the story starts off, she has lost her mother a few months prior and she has found to have a guardian, but she has no idea who he is. The only thing Julia knows about him is that he wants to send her Scotland to tend an old widow. Julia is an independent girl who only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart. As the story begins, Julia is very cool and bit aloof, but I can understand why as she has lost both of her parents within a year, and her mother's death was so sudden. Julia is crushed to learn her mother killed herself. As the story progress, you are able to see Julia change through out the story as more is reveled. As much as she yearns to be out from under the control of her guardian, Julia is naive to the world and is swept up unknowing what the outcomes could possibly mean.

Edward is a character that is doing his best to help Julia. Even though there is a miscommunication between them, he cares for her and wants to help her. However, as the vicar to his community, he has to find away to balance both. Even though he starts off a little rough around the edges, he becomes one of my favorites.

Mr. Macy...from the first instant I read about him, he gave off a warning. He is such a smooth talker and very controlling, something didn't sit well. Watching his story unfold kept me guessing.

Born of Persuasion was a book I could not put down. It was also edgier than most Christian fiction out there. It included some more intense romantic element than most, but not to any extremes. I enjoyed it! The twist and turns in the story kept me guessing. When I thought I had something figured out, the story took me somewhere else. A couple of times, I had to reread a part asking myself, "Did that just happen?!" Sure enough it did.

I can not wait to read the second book in the Price of Privilege Trilogy. There are so many questions left unanswered and I can't wait to find out where this story will go next!

Too Read!
5 out of 5


Super Six Sunday: Favorite Couples

Super Six Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Bewitched Bookworms. Each week features a book related question and can highlight your Super Six!

Topic:
Super 6 Favorite Book Couples

I love this topic! I have been introduced to so many new couples this year that I have really enjoyed.

1.Morrow Little & Red Shirt
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
Morrow Little and Red Shirt are such fascinating characters. She grows through out the story as she learns more about Red Shirt and Red Shirt is just great!

2. Carl Richards & Annalisa Werner
A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Annalisa is a lover of fairy tales and Carl is a man who believes that every woman should be treated as a lady. Their story just makes you sigh!

3. Lydia Pallas & Alexander Banebridge
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Lydia and Bane have such an unusual relationship that spans through many different emotions. Their relationship is not like most stories.

4. Luca Ferelli & Lia Betarrini
The River of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren
There are two couple in this series (to date) Gabby and Marcello, but it is Lia and Luca who I favor a little bit more. There is a joking and playfulness with them.

5. Felicia Murdock & Grayson Sumner
A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano
Grayson and Felicia are the perfect balance. Grayson is more straitlaced, while Felicia is very outgoing. They also are hilarious!

6. Willa Obenchain & Neil McGregor
Burning Sky by Lori Benton
Willa is recovering from personal losses and doesn't know where she fits in anymore. Neil is one to offer hope of finding normalcy. It's a different type of story with a triangle, but it plays out well.

Who are some of your favorite character couples?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (16)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's a way to spotlight the new books you have gotten the past week. They can be the books you received for review, bought, borrowed, or received as a gift/prize.

Review:



 Christmas in Apple Ridge: Three-In-One Collection by Cindy Woodsmall (Blogging for Books)

Peace on Earth by Mary Engelbreit (Booksneeze)
Prize:


Return to Me by Lynn Austin (Bethany House)
Rewards:
Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin (Tyndale House)
Bought:
  Nowhere, Carolina by Tamara Leigh
Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James


It's been a fun week for books! How was your book week?